It seems to be another clash between two living legends of football. Legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé said that it was justified for FIFA to ban Uruguay player Luis Suárez for 4 months after he had bitten Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the group match between Italy and Uruguay at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Suárez was fined £66,000 in addition to the ban.
Pelé said that the punishment for the Liverpool striker was both fair and proportionate as he called the offence "unprecedented." "Of course some people react badly when something has happened to them but it's always been a head-butt, an elbow or a kick from a player when fighting for the ball. But a bite. This is the first time that something like this has happened in the World Cup. Even for us who were on the pitch this is something that was unprecedented," he said, "I think the decision from FIFA is a good one and the right one because they have to make an example. If they don't, this could spread. This shouldn't be done by anyone or copied by anyone. So I think it was fair because it acts as a precedent from now and it is clear that there are consequences for the action."
On the contrary, Diego Maradona - the Argentina football legend who won the world cup for his country in 1986 - was highly critical of FIFA's decision. Maradona earlier appeared on his talk-show, wearing a T-shirt with lines that said: "Little Luis, We're with you." He called the punishment "shameful." "They have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo," he said, ""It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It's an excessive suspension. FIFA cannot talk about morals to anyone. Suarez didn't kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia."
The two football legends, who are undoubtedly the greatest the game has ever produced, have been regularly involved in criticising each other for year now. Their viewpoints have hardly matched on any given issue so far. The ban of Suárez seems to be another apple of discord between the two.
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au